Jonathan von Mering: You’re creating an engaging experience for someone to really get lost in
Senior Jonathan von Meringhas collected an intimidating résumé over the years. In middle school, he became known for his participation in the drama department. Since then, von Mering has picked up a new form of storytelling: voice acting.
As a voice actor, von Mering auditions for parts the same way performing actors do. However, he only sends audio files and is judged based on his voice only rather than on his stage presence and physique. For the parts he is recruited for, von Mering receives scripts that he reads aloud to record himself. After sending the audio files, von Mering’s voice gets matched for commercials, video game characters or cartoons.
A few years ago, von Mering joined the Voice Acting Alliance, a website with directors looking for voice actors. From there, von Mering expanded and took projects from other sources as well. Recently, von Mering received roles to record Amazon eBooks.
Von Mering found he had a advantage while working for Amazon because he was one of the few teenage voices on the site. Since more of Amazon’s eBooks are targeted at young adults, authentic teenage voices are sought after, but rare to find.
Eventually, von Mering hopes to take on large contracts that could involve nine hours worth of script and $3,200 in his pocket.
Von Mering’s largest project was being the voice of Ser Gilmore in Dragon Age, a video game for which he had approximately 70 pages of script to record. In addition, because the players’ actions affected the outcome of Dragon Age’s story, von Mering had to repeat his lines at least three times for the different circumstances.
“With voice acting, you may be hearing this crazy knight talking about this quest, but when I recorded it, I was in my pajamas,” said von Mering.
While many voice actors can be insecure about hearing their own voices, von Mering is comfortable hearing his voice.
“From hearing [my recordings] a bazillion times and listening to hours of myself talking, I’ve gotten past that,” said von Mering.
Von Mering also created a demo reel to display his talents. But some of the voices on von Mering’s demo reel may not be recognizable as his own. In fact, when von Mering played it for his friends, his friends asked, “Why did you have someone else in your demo reel?”
“For the demo reel you really want to showcase your range, so some of the voices I have on there are very strange and weird with different sounds,” von Mering said.
For every role von Mering has played, regardless of whether or not he had a visible audience, he has put in his all.
“Whether you’re doing [acting] on the stage or behind the microphone, the gesture is the same,” von Mering said, “in that you’re creating an engaging experience for someone to really get lost in.”